Government to continue to provide free education, changes in TELS and support for MBBS students who enrolled last year

Government to continue to provide free education, changes in TELS and support for MBBS students who enrolled last year

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 16/07/2021
[Image: File Photo]

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says despite these challenging times, the Government will continue to ensure that every child receives primary and secondary education fully paid by the Government.

$59.4 million has been allocated to cater for 217,000 primary and secondary school students from Years 1 to 13 under the free education initiative introduced in 2014.

A further $17.1 million is provided as transportation assistance for more than 103,000 primary and secondary students from low-income families.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme and National Toppers Scheme will continue to support eligible students to continue their education with an allocation of $158.1 million.

The TELS entry mark has been increased to a minimum of 280 and in areas where there is over supply of graduates, eligibility marks will be increased to 300 for Year 13.

This includes Accounting, Tourism, Law, Management and Public Administration and certain areas in teacher training, medicine, and health.

He says all MBBS students that had privately enrolled with a minimum Year 13 mark of 340, with the first year GPA of 3.0 or more, and combined family income below $100,000 will be eligible for a one off $10,000 Government grant towards their education.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says a new financial assistance scheme will be in place for all TSLB students who are required to complete a period of industrial or clinical attachments to allow them to graduate from their sponsored programme.

This will be a $100 monthly top up in addition to what is being currently provided by their employers.

The Government is also introducing a new TELS stream with 5,000 placements available for TVET courses for Certificates 3, 4 and Diploma Level 5 at Fiji National University.

Those students who will not be able to achieve the cut off mark for TELS for Degree programmes will be able to join this scheme.

Government will continue with the scholarship support through National Toppers Scheme in priority areas, however, the scholarship award has been reduced from 600 to 480.

The 120 awards will be redirected in areas of inclusive education, early childhood education, counselling, and psychology, with 95 placements, and another 25 awards for post graduate programmes such as dermatology, anaesthesia, epidemiology, mid-wifery obstetrics, gynaecology, emergency nursing, surgery and pathology. Priority will be given to female applicants.

Also, effective from 1st January 2023, students who complete foundation studies will be disqualified from TELS eligibility criteria.

Students who are currently enrolled in foundation studies and complete by the end of this year will be eligible for TELS in 2022.

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